Washington, D.C. – Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Co-Chair of both the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues and the Congressional Hellenic Israel Alliance, today released the following statement on a recent meeting with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs at the State Department in regards to Turkish interference in the Eastern Mediterranean:
“My colleagues and I reached out to the State Department to further engage officials about Turkey’s continual interference with Cyprus reunification efforts and hydrocarbon development in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey’s disregard for international agreements and established maritime law is provocative and violates a binding bilateral EEZ agreement between Cyprus and Israel. We must encourage small steps and confidence building measures that will pave the way for lasting peace in the region. Such a peace would provide economic benefits to all parties involved.
Turkey’s issuance and immediate retraction of their Notice to Airmen reservation of Aegean airspace was the latest example of the country’s indifference to international law and territorial integrity and I am glad it was retracted so swiftly. Today’s conversation was a good start, but we will continue to urge the State Department to engage with our allies in a meaningful way to further the cause of economic security and national sovereignty.”